A wave of mass strikes hit the airports of European countries

A wave of mass strikes hit European airports

The biggest challenges faced by the aviation industry in 2022 were caused by staffing issues. Strikes will be the main cause of trouble this year. Across Europe, thousands of airport and airline employees, as well as workers from various industries, are protesting, fighting for better working conditions and higher wages, as the region is experiencing the highest inflation in decades.

Cancellations and delays Flights are already on the rise, especially in France, where air traffic controllers this week joined a nationwide strike to protest the government's pension reforms.

Since the beginning of the year, operations at Germany's largest airports have been affected by mass layoffs of ground personnel due to ongoing wage disputes.

Severe disruptions are likely at the UK's busiest airport over the Easter period as Heathrow security officials plan to start on 31 March 10-day strike.

However, despite growing tensions in the workplace, most airports are confident that last year's chaos with many hours of queues at security checkpoints and lost luggage will not be repeated.

Amsterdam Schiphol, which experienced unprecedented stress last summer, is forced to again limit the number of passengers, despite the negative reaction from the airlines, to prevent congestion at the airport.

Meanwhile, at Dublin Airport, where passengers were forced to queue outside last summer, the situation improved after the airport ramped up recruitment. Now more than 95 percent of passengers complete all procedures in less than 20 minutes.

However, Eurocontrol — European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation — predicts 2023 will be an “extremely challenging year” And she has good reason for this.

Great Britain

Heathrow security officers — union members Unite — will hold a 10-day strike from March 31 to April 9. The action will affect the operation of Terminal 5, one of the airport's busiest terminals. Unite say they are protesting because they cannot make ends meet because of the low wages being paid to Heathrow. At the same time, the trade union refuses the proposal to raise wages by 10 percent.

The union said in a statement: “Heathrow airport workers are paid a beggarly wage, while the chief executive and senior managers are making huge amounts of money. It is the airport workers who are fundamental to its success and they deserve a fair wage increase.”

Heathrow is calling on airlines to stop selling tickets for Easter because of the strikes.

But that's not yet All. A five-week strike by passport control officers starting in early April will also make travel difficult. 

In Franceground personnel and airline crews have joined the national strike in response to the government's raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 and cutting pension benefits. Last Thursday marked the ninth day of widespread strikes, with tens of thousands of protesters including lawyers, teachers, students and transport workers taking to the streets across the country. The protests were mostly peaceful, but there were reports of a violent police response and a number of arsons.

In Paris on Thursday, only two of 14 metro lines operated as usual, and the high-speed TGV and RER commuter trains were seriously disrupted. Air travel has effectively ground to a halt as air traffic controllers refused to do their jobs this week, with a third of flights canceled at Paris Orly Airport and 20 percent — at Charles de Gaulle Airport.

A pension bill is being debated in the French Senate this week, and unions are not ruling out more action as polls show a vast majority of workers oppose pension reform. The next strike is scheduled for March 28.


A series of 24-hour strikes at Spanish airports will continue until April 13. They were organized by the unions of ground workers and the cargo handling company Swissport. Strikes take place every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at Madrid Barajas, Barcelona El Prat, Reus, Alicante, Valencia, Murcia, Malaga, Almeria, Salamanca, Valladolid, Burgos, Logroño, Zaragoza, Huesca, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and Tenerife Sur.


German trade unions have called on workers in the country's transport system to hold a one-day strike on Monday, March 27th. Security and ground personnel are protesting at all German airports except Berlin.

Passengers are advised to refrain from traveling to the airport on Monday.

The current action follows a series of strikes that took place across Germany this year as public sector workers push for better working conditions and higher wages.

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